Thursday, May 25, 2017


Wow, this year has just been zooming by! And I have blogged less than ever. I also deleted all my social media accounts a few months back, so I am really loving less screen time, but also feel out of the loop in a lot of ways. :)

Although we haven't been blogging as regularly, our family life has been full of great things. And our Year of Learning is well underway!

We started researching schools and programs for Kate to start kindergarten this fall. (Yes, she is turning 5 in August!)

My older sister, Carrie, has been an excellent resource for us because she is so involved in the local homeschool world and has been teaching in public elementary and homeschool settings for years. She encouraged us to research Inspire Charter schools and their independent study program. It helped us get excited and feel empowered; we could actually do this homeschool thing!

me and Edwin, just because.

Jon had already been looking for work since our move, and he applied to some teaching jobs within a few hours of the Sacramento region. Meanwhile I went back to work at Beverly's (fabric and crafts store) and started work part time as an Administrative Assistant for an estate law firm.

We took a tour of the Love of Learning center in Rocklin. It was a day of pouring rain, and the only picture I got was of Kate standing under a drain pipe with the umbrella. (ha!)

The homeschool center was a lot of fun. The kids got to sit in on a T-K class while we observed students at all age levels taking classes like STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, & math), taekwondo, English, and more. These classes work a lot like electives, and varying classes are offered each term from T-K up through high school. We were excited about the potential for child-led learning and that we can do the basics at home (math, reading, writing), and then both Kate and Edwin can grow up choosing what else they learn and when.

It's been so cool seeing Kate write her own name! I love watching her figure things out:

I continued working at both jobs through February, but quickly transitioned to Beverly's as my main work focus as we headed into March.

Our main goal was to work on setting up a homeschool system at home. The idea was one I came up with, based on having a child-led daily schedule.

Laminated cards show categories that the kids can pick from. We have reading, alphabet/writing time, math and numbers, gospel learning, cooking and baking, cleaning, music, art, science, outside play, etc. There is even a bonus category for the kids to earn something special (like a trip to Jamba Juice) if we have an extra awesome day.

There is a "things to do" chart hanging on our pantry door with pockets for all the cards to go in, and then a "look what we did" chart for the cards to move to once we have done that activity for the day.

The goal was to have a well rounded day with a variety of activities so that we aren't too heavy in one thing. For instance, I have LEARNED by doing this chart that I'm super good at getting the kids involved with cooking and baking, but maybe not so much with the numbers and music. ;) We are pretty good with arts and crafts, but some of our other activities need more focus. Everything is incorporated with playtime and games, like making this homemade bird feeder and learning about what animals eat:

It's all designed to be family work, and a "learn as you go" type of system. Sometimes the learning is going for a walk and talking all about traffic signs in our neighborhood. Sometimes the learning is watching The Magic School Bus and then talking together more about the subject they discussed (like hot lava, or how our muscles work in our bodies).

All this time I was still working at Beverly's, but was feeling very strongly that I needed to stay home with the kids. Jon was still looking for work, and hadn't found anything yet, but I was trying to be trusting of Heavenly Father's guidance and exercise faith that it would work out anyway. I ended up giving my two-week notice and finished working at Bev's a week before Edwin's birthday.

Around the same time I was feeling more driven to pursue yoga teacher training as a 5-year plan/goal. I knew I wanted to go back to school, but I wasn't sure if transferring out to a college here to complete my Bachelor's should be the primary focus right now. I decided to at least cultivate a healthier and more fit lifestyle, and joined a local gym that has a fantastic yoga studio. It was about the same cost as any other local yoga studio's monthly rate, but with this system I also got the WHOLE gym and every other perk that comes with it. Score!

In April we registered Kate for Inspire Charter School, and also signed her up for two classes at LoL for the fall. Hooray!

I jumped into yoga as much as possible and started learning a TON. I had always done yoga here and there in the past, but now I was utilizing it so much more, and really immersing myself in the practice.

Part of the goal here was to have a well rounded and eternal pursuit of human learning: mind, body, and soul. More dedicated religious practice, exercise and fitness, internal wellness through proper eating, and mental focus with meditation and restorative time.

Balancing life without work was challenging. Back in Rexburg was the first time I was just a stay-at-home-mom for a few months, and it's definitely stressful being in charge of your own time all day. Being here in California has been stressful in all new ways. I felt like I almost got more accomplished when I had work going on too, because then I knew that I had deadlines to meet with my day. For instance, "I need to get x,y,z done before 2pm because then I have an evening shift at work." But when there is no work outside the home, it's easier to convince yourself that everyone can just stay in PJs all day. In addition to that we have a lot of family living together in one house right now, so there are many schedules, eating habits, and lifestyles to consider and coordinate.

The hardest thing to figure out has been work and money. I was hoping to stay home with the kids and be the primary caretaker/homeschooler, but we also had to put all of our money saving and independent living goals on hold when we moved. Although both teaching jobs that we were hoping for didn't come through, Jon was able to substitute a couple days at the Love of Learning center, and get some classes lined up to teach in the fall. He also found a job at Placer Title at the very end of April, which was a huge blessing!

Jon and I have also been learning more about the gospel and building better habits. We always attend the temple once a month (at least), but our scripture study habits have gotten a lot better and more regular.

I got a calling in Activity Days (co-leading bi-weekly activities for the 9 and 10 year old girls in our ward at church), and that has helped me grow a lot already. Between home, teaching our kids and reading scriptures together as a family, Relief Society activities, primary, visiting teaching, and extra service opportunities, there is always room to grow in the gospel. :)

This month has been full of a lot of juggling and figuring things out. We started off with learning how to make everything function for our family with Jon back at work 5 days a week, and only one car. Thankfully we were blessed with an opportunity to acquire a second car for our family that Jon can commute to work in! (The area we are living in here in California is a lot more spread out than Rexburg...)

Placer Title has been a great solid job for us. It has allowed me to keep staying home, and we're slowly working on where to go next. Catching up with savings and everything will be slow, but at least we were finally able to get our car registered, we're getting our budget more tight and updated, and we're still debt free! That's such a good feeling.

We're also LEARNING how to handle this California heat again. We've already had days creeping up near 100*! Thankfully Nonna and Papa got Edwin and Kate a wading pool for our patio. It has been getting great use. ;)

Our stake (regional church group in Roseville) started the self-reliance program here at the end of April, and Jon and I were invited to be some of the first participants from our ward. Every week for 12 weeks we meet with a group of our peers to work on building foundation principles in one of four areas: finding a better job, education, budgeting and finance, and starting or building your own business.  Jon meets with the job/career building group, and I have been attending the education classes. It has really pushed me to research career options for self-reliance and figure out what I want to pursue. I still don't have my bachelor's degree, and without a full time supporter of our family working for us, I would not be able to take care of myself and the children (like if Jon were to die). I just don't have the skills and education in any one area to make a little more than minimum wage. This whole month of learning has accelerated my interest and pursuit of yoga and nutrition studies in a career mode. (I plan to do a more in depth blog post about this later.)

I'm learning how to manage our home better (meal planning, grocery shopping, kid's routines, my routines...)

freezer meals!

pantry organization :D

...and along with that we are learning how to balance all the family and friend extracurriculars. We like to be social.

I've also been helping my dad with estate execution work, along with sewing orders for friends and family. :) I don't have my etsy store open right now, but sewing is still a HUGE part of my life and keeps me busy.

We're so happy to be going on this LEARNING journey this year in so many ways! Whatever our long-term learning goals end up being, I'm happy that we can work on them together. :)

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